Thug Kitchen- The Official Cookbook was my introduction to many new culinary concepts and ingredients. I received this cookbook several years ago as a Christmas gift, just after we had begun to adjust to the fact that we found out our son was lactose intolerant and didn’t know what the hell to do aside from just use non-dairy cheese and continue making our same ol’ shit. For those of you unfamiliar with the Thug Kitchen line of cookbooks and hilarious blog, it’s basically the written version of the Martha Stewart/Snoop Dogg partnership. So, great recipes with interesting ingredients and techniques, meet tattoos and motherfuckers in a surprising, entertaining and somewhat confusing manner. And, it’s vegan.
I’ve previously reviewed another Thug Kitchen Book, Thug Kitchen Party Grub here, but I will say that if forced to own only one Thug Kitchen cookbook, the original would be my choice. This book is super entertaining and meets all the elements of my favorite aspects of a cookbook: easy and fun to read, few ingredients, and lots of photos. An added bonus is that the authors of Thug Kitchen seem super relatable in the way they encourage you to just add whatever you think the recipe needs at the end, which I think is how most people cook anyway. Most recipes end with some sort of “taste it and add what you think it needs,” comment.
I’ve made several recipes from this cookbook over the years. It was my introduction to tempeh, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, and making cream sauces using tofu as a base. Although my family still thinks tempeh is questionable, I use nutritional yeast at least every few days in something and am no longer scared of trying to make something that seems like it can’t be replicated without dairy out of non-dairy items. Like this macaroni and cheese, which I offered non-dairy options for.
Although I could easily go for some of my stand-by recipes out of this cookbook (and probably will someday), including the Silky Roasted Bell Pepper Pasta or the Herb Popcorn, I decided to try a new recipe today and went with the Lemon-Mint Quinoa. I work in an office, sitting on my butt for the most part, so I try and bring healthy lunches. Since it’s Sunday, I generally try to make a few of my lunches in advance and this quinoa fits the bill.
This was easily a 20 minute meal. It’s a filling lunch for 2 or a nice side for 4 for dinner. If you are a meat-eater, I think it’d be great along side some spicy chicken as the freshness of the mint and lemon would be a great compliment. I followed the recipe as it was written, however I only had whole almonds so I chopped them, they aren’t slivered. Cause who the hell has time for that? I also added a significant amount more lemon zest and a bit more salt, mint and green onions then called for.
EASE AND CONVENIENCE – 5 – This recipe was a piece of cake. Super doable lunch to prepare for work for the week.
TASTE – 4 – This recipe was flavorful but not mind blowing. I ended up adding more lemon zest, salt, mint and green onions at the end as well as topping it with red pepper flakes to give it some help. After that it was tasty.
COOKBOOK – 5 – This is one of my favorite cookbooks. If you are offended by curse words or the idea that it’s healthy for you and good for the world to eat a meal without meat, don’t buy it. Everyone else: buy it.
This is a super easy, super tasty light lunch or side. Serves 4 as a side, 2 for lunch.
1 t + 2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 t salt
1/2 t grated lemon zest
2 T lemon
1 1/2 T rice vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
2 T minced green onions
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan with a lid. Add quinoa and saute about 2 minutes. Add water and salt and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer until quinoa is tender, 15-18 minutes. If the quinoa needs more water before it’s done, add some. If it has too much, strain.
Mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining 2 T olive oil in a small glass. After the quinoa has cooled a couple minutes add the lemon dressing, mint, green onions and almonds. Taste to see if it needs more salt, lemon, mint, onions…. Serve room temperature or cold.
I found that I did need to add a little salt, and a bit more of the mint, onions, and lemon zest. I also topped it with red pepper flakes as a struggle to go a meal without something spicy.